Holy Trinity Primary School
School website: www.holytrinitybelfast.co.uk
Your place of birth: Belfast.
Studied at: St Dominic's and St Mary's University College.
First job: Teacher in Holy Trinity Partial Hearing Unit.
What it taught me: It taught me that I had chosen the correct career and that teaching is the most rewarding job in the world. At times it is challenging, frustrating and stressful, you work long hours and at times you are on an emotional rollercoaster but it is also the most worthwhile and fulfilling job anyone could have.
Through my first job, working in a special unit, I learnt that my heart would always lie in working with children with Special Educational Needs. I loved every minute of my time in the unit. I loved working with the children, helping them to recognise their skills, qualities and talents. I learnt that some children learn at a different pace and in a different way from their peers but it was my job to be creative, to lay the foundations for them to learn, to be innovative, to raise their self esteem and to never give up. I was on a learning journey with them and I learnt just as much from them as they did from me. My role was to give the children the confidence and self belief to aim for the stars and to believe in themselves.
I also learnt early on that all behaviour is a form of communication and some children need that extra help and support to manage their emotions and deal with unfortunate circumstances impacting their life. By nurturing them, providing advice and guidance, showing them respect and compassion, by listening to them and showing them you loved and cared for them, you are able to give the children the skills to become resilient, determined, kind, empathetic, respectful, non-judgemental, responsible people able to make the correct choices in this difficult world and also lead fulfilling lives.
I also learnt that whilst it is a job that is very fulfilling, it is also emotionally draining. I learnt that you are part of a team, a community, especially when you are in a school like Holy Trinity. You have colleagues and indeed friends who are always there to support you professionally and personally. Holy Trinity is my second family. That is why I stayed in my first job and never moved on because I love being in a community where everyone goes that extra mile to support each other and to provide the best possible educational and emotional support for all children, no matter what their ability.
Best advice anyone ever gave you: In 20 years time, your pupils will not remember a well planned lesson or a great worksheet. They will remember a teacher who had time for them, who was kind, compassionate, supportive, nurturing, gave praise and encouragement and who was always there for them when they most needed it. They will remember the teacher who gave them a hug, who wiped away their tears and who made them laugh and believe in themselves.
Best advice you could give someone thinking of a teaching career: Teaching is the most rewarding job in the world. It is tough and can be challenging at times but it is the most interesting, exciting, worthwhile and fulfilling job you can have. You have the opportunity, along with parents, to take a small child, to nurture them, to help them develop their skills and knowledge, develop their language and social skills, their creative and sporting talents, challenge their thinking skills, stimulate their curiosity and create lifelong learners . As their role model, and through listening to them, advising them and supporting them, you have the chance to help them on their emotional journey, to build their self-esteem and self-belief, to develop resilience and instil in them respect, empathy, compassion and give them the strength to make the right choice in the difficult times of their lives. As a teacher you are helping to create future citizens and helping the children, no matter what their background to lead fulfilling lives.
In teaching, no two days will be the same. You will be on a learning journey with your pupils always seeking out innovative ways to deliver inspirational lessons. There will be nothing more satisfying than helping a pupils achieve their full potential or seeing a child’s face light up when something they have been struggling with clicks. Most days are filled with fun and laughter and you will thrive on the children’s small accomplishments. This is a job where you can be imaginative and creative, a job where you can make a difference and change lives.
You will also not be on your own. In teaching, you will be part of a team, working with colleagues who will support you personally and professionally. You will make lifelong friends. It is an honour and privilege to be a teacher. You will laugh a lot, cry a lot but there is no more rewarding job than being able to change a child’s life and give a child a bright future
I grew up in Beechmount and have six amazing sisters. My parents, Eddie and Phyllis Enright, were loving and supportive. They encouraged me to work hard in school and it is from them that I developed my determination, resilience and compassion for others, I attended St Dominic’s followed by St Mary’s Training College where I met my husband Joe. I graduated in 1988 after specialising in Special Education. I started working in Holy Trinity Partial Hearing Unit. I qualified as a teacher of the deaf and developed my lifelong interest in Special Education.
I became Vice-Principal of Holy Trinity in 2008 and Principal in 2013. I love my job, working with people I care for and respect and who have the same vision, high expectations and ethos as myself. It is an honour and privilege to work here, where staff and governors are conscientious, dedicated and caring, where parents are supportive and pupils are respectful and eager to learn. Our outstanding pastoral care and emphasis on ICT and preparing the children for a digital age have been recognised in awards received in recent years. I am particularly proud of how our school community united during the pandemic. Staff worked tirelessly to support each other and to provide learning and emotional support to parents and pupils. Our pupils have returned to school resilient and determined to make up for time lost. Support networks with local principals, Fiona Keegan and Cathal O’Doherty, established during lockdown, have led to a collaborative working partnership and close friendships. The pandemic has been a challenging time but it has brought a close school community even closer and I could not be more proud.